The Metropolitan Opera and The Juilliard School Present Bellini’s La Sonnambula

Mike Lawson • News • January 25, 2016

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Conductor Speranza ScappucciNEW YORK — The Metropolitan Opera and The Juilliard School Present a Concert Performance of Bellini’s La Sonnambula in February 2016  Conducted by Speranza Scappucci. Featuring singers from the met opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development program and Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for vocal arts with the Juilliard Orchestra

More details at Julliard Events (

The Metropolitan Opera and The Juilliard School will present a concert performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s La sonnambula on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 and Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 7:30pm and Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 2pm in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Speranza Scappucci, an alumna of Juilliard, conducts the Juilliard Orchestra and singers from the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and from the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at Juilliard. Juilliard faculty member David Paul is dramatic consultant for the presentation. Lighting design is by Kate Ashton. 

Performances take place on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at 7:30pm; Thursday, February 11, 2016, at 7:30pm; and Saturday, February 13, 2016, at 2pm in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Tickets for $30 are available at or at the Juilliard Box Office.

The cast features Clarissa Lyons as Lisa; Thesele Kemane as Alessio; Hyesang Park as Amina; Sara Couden as Teresa; Miles Mykannen as Un Notaro; Kang Wang as Elvino; and Sava Vemić as Count Rodolfo.

This presentation of La sonnambula marks the sixth collaboration between the Met Opera and Juilliard. In 2014-15, Met+Juilliard presented a concert performance of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, conducted by Jane Glover and directed by David Paul. Other co-presentations have included: “A Concert of Comic Operas” with excerpts and scenes from operas by Berlioz, Donizetti, and Mozart, and Stravinsky’s rarely-performed one-act Mavra, conducted by James Levine and directed by Edward Berkeley; Mozart’s Così fan tutte, conducted by Alan Gilbert and directed by Stephen Wadsworth; a concert staging of Gluck’s Armide in 2012, conducted by Jane Glover and directed by Fabrizio Melano; and Stephen Wadsworth’s 2011 production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, conducted by James Levine.


La sonnambula had its premiere at the Teatro Carcano in Milan in 1831. Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835), a Sicilian composer, had a gift for melody and an understanding of the human voice. His career was cut short by his early death at age 33, shortly after his opera I puritani had its successful Parisian premiere. Librettist Felice Romani (1788-1865) was Bellini’s frequent collaborator and was the librettist for Milan’s Teatro alla Scala.

The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and The Juilliard School partnership was established in February 2008. The Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program is under the leadership of Music Director James Levine and Executive Director Brian Zeger. Mr. Zeger is also artistic director of Juilliard’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts. This collaboration aims to use the resources of both institutions to identify and educate the finest young opera singers and collaborative pianists for careers in the world’s great opera houses.

The performances are part of Juilliard Opera, a program dedicated to the education and training of future generations of singers at Juilliard. Juilliard Opera is supported by the vision and generous lead funding of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture and its Chairman, Dr. Haruhisa Handa. Additional support for the performances are provided in part by the Muriel Gluck Production Fund.

Speranza Scappucci (Conductor)

After her successful New York debut last season (Il Turco in Italia) Speranza Scappucci returns to Juilliard for this concert presentation of Bellini’s La sonnambula in collaboration with the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Her future engagements include performances at Teatro Regio di Torino, Los Angeles Opera, Rossini Opera Festival, Wiener Staatsoper, Rome Opera, Sydney Opera, Zurich Opera, Festspielhaus Baden Baden, as well as Symphonic concerts at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Recently she conducted at the Mariinski Theater, Washington Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon, Macerata Opera Festival, Bilbao Arriaga, Finnish National Opera, Scottish Opera, and concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestra Della Toscana, South Denmark Sympnony, Festival Orchestra Riga and at the Palace of Culture in Sofia. Her CD recordings include Mozart arias with soprano Marina Rebeka/Liverpool Philharmonic (Warne) and Il mio Canto with tenor Saimir Pirgu/Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Opus Arte).

David Paul (Dramatic Consultant)

David Paul directs theater, opera, and film across the U.S. and abroad.  Recent highlights include the award-winning film Dichterliebe: POETLOVE, based on Robert Schumann’s songs, along with Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera, the world premiere of An American Soldier at Washington National Opera, Julius Caesar at Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Iphigénie en Aulide, last year’s Met+Juilliard presentation. He has mounted four new productions for Music Academy of the West, returning this summer for Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, and has also directed at North Carolina Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre, the Tel Aviv Summer Opera Festival, Westminster Choir College, and Columbia University, among others. He has given master classes in Japan, China, and Israel, and serves on the faculty at Juilliard and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Kate Ashton (Lighting Design)

Recent design for opera at Juilliard includes The Children’s Hour and Anatomy of Sound in Studio 305, Armide, L’Incoronazione di Poppea, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other opera design: Aida (Aspen Music Festival), Nina O Sia La Pazza Per Amore (U.S. Premiere), La Doriclea, Land of Smiles, and The Conspirators at Manhattan School of Music. Music: Tango Song and Dance at the Kennedy Center, Romeo and Juliet with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Theater design includes: Josephine and I at the Public Theater, Medea and Death of a Salesman with Theater Mitu, Divorce Party: The Musical (original production and U.S. tour). Dance: Skybetter and Associates, Syren Modern Dance, Belinda McGuire’s Heist Project. BA, College of William and Mary. MFA, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Ms. Ashton is a proud member of United Scenic Artists.


The Cast

Sara Couden (Teresa)

Mezzo-soprano Sara Couden is from San Francisco and in her second year of the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She has recently sung Penelope in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with West Edge Opera, and Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress and the Third Lady in The Magic Flute at the Music Academy of the West, where she was a fellow. She earned her Artist Diploma from Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, where she has been heard in Dvořák’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, Bach’s St. John Passion, and Honegger’s King David. She holds a Master of Music degree from San Francisco Conservatory and was heard there as Madame Flora in Menotti’s The Medium, Cornelia in Giulio Cesare, the Princess in Suor Angelica, and Bradamante in Alcina. She is currently a participant in Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.


Thesele Kemane (Alessio)

Bass-baritone Thesele Kemane, a native of South Africa, is an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies student at Juilliard, studying with Edith Wiens. Mr. Kemane participated in the young artist program at the Glimmerglass Festival and attended the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia where he attended masterclasses with Renata Scotto. His operatic roles include the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, Forester in  The Cunning Little Vixen, Don Prudenzio in  Il viaggio a Reims, Procolo in  Viva la mamma, Nick Shadow in  The Rake’s Progress, the title role in  Don Giovanni, Lindorf in  Tales of Hoffmann, and Basilio in  Il barbiere di Siviglia. This year at Juilliard, he covered Der Todin Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and will play Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte this spring. Mr. Kemane has previously studied with Kamal Khan and Virginia Davids.


Clarissa Lyons (Lisa)

Soprano Clarissa Lyons is from Davis, California, and in her first year of the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She was a Bel Canto Young Artist at the Caramoor Festival last summer and has recently participated in Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues” series at Carnegie Hall. She sang in Dido and Aeneas at Lincoln Center with the Mark Morris Dance Group in 2012 and has also appeared as a Music Center Fellow at the Tanglewood Festival and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in performances of Monteverdi’s “Lamento d’Arianna,” Ravel’s Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, and Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride. She has also sung Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Opera on the Avalon, Mimì in La bohème with Martina Arroyo’s “Prelude to Performance” program, and Elaine O’Neill in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening at Manhattan School of Music. She received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her Master of Music degree from Bard College Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music.


Hyesang Park (Amina)

Soprano Hyesang Park, from South Korea, is an Artist Diploma student at The Juilliard School and joined the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program this season. She made her professional opera debut as Violetta in La Traviata in 2009 with the Korea National Opera and has won top prizes in competitions including Plácido Domingo’s Operalia World Opera Competition, the 2015 Montreal International Competition, 2014 Queen Elizabeth Voice Competition, and 2010 Korean National Theater Competition. She attended Italy’s Solti Academy and Switzerland’s Verbier Festival Academy, and in 2014 made her American debut as Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia with Juilliard Opera in a performance conducted by Speranza Scappucci. She has also sung at Carnegie Hall as part of Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues” series. Future plans include her European debut at the Glyndebourne Festival in Ariadne auf Naxos next year and Despina in Così fan tutte for her debut at Covent Garden in 2019.


Sava Vemić (Rodolfo)

Bass Sava Vemić is from Belgrade, Serbia, and is in his second year of the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Last season he sang Arcas in the MET+Juilliard production of Iphigénie in Aulide, and additional recent performances include Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro at Tel Aviv’s International Vocal Arts Institute. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2014 as Sir Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux with Opera Orchestra of New York and was the First Prize winner of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition that same year. He made his professional operatic debut as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at Belgrade’s Madlenianum Opera and Theatre and last summer returned to Belgrade as Redzep in Stanislav Binički’s At Dawn at the National Theater. He studied at the Mokranjac Music School at the University of Arts in Belgrade.


Kang Wang (Elvino)

Tenor Kang Wang was born in China and currently lives in Australia. He is in his first year of the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. During the 2014-15 season he was a member of the opera studio at Switzerland’s Theater Basel where he sang Nathanaël in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, the Notary in Don Pasquale, and the Male Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. He has also sung Don José in Peter Brooks’s staging of La Tragédie de Carmen at Virginia’s International Vocal Arts Institute, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore at the Royal Northern College of Music, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress with the Queensland Conservatorium at Australia’s Griffith University. He was awarded the UK’s Clonter Opera Prize in 2014 and is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and received his Master of Music degree from the Queensland Conservatorium.


About the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program

Founded in 1980 by James Levine, the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, named after benefactors Mr. and Mrs. George Lindemann, has served as a training program for many well-known artists, including Stephanie Blythe, Dwayne Croft, Paul Groves, Nathan Gunn, Mariusz Kwiecién, Aprile Millo, Sondra Radvanovsky, and Dawn Upshaw. Participants receive a yearly stipend in addition to musical and language coaching with the Met’s artistic staff. Through the Juilliard partnership, the Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and Juilliard Vocal Arts share some full-time faculty, guest faculty, master classes, and a host of other resources, offering a rich developmental environment to educate the next generation. Juilliard’s related educational courses are available to the young artists, and participants also have access to the extensive resources of Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace Library. Likewise, Juilliard students now enjoy access to master classes, dress rehearsals, and performances at the Met as a result of the new collaboration, enabling students at every level to take advantage of the world-class opera across the plaza. Juilliard students may participate as guest artists of Lindemann presentations, and Lindemann artists appear as guest artists at Juilliard performances, thus increasing the potential for performance opportunities for all participants. The Met Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program always has been open to participants with a variety of educational backgrounds from the United States and abroad. Auditions are held annually at the opera house. Participants take part in the program for a maximum of three years, with contracts renewed on an annual basis.


About the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at Juilliard

Brian Zeger, Artistic Director

One of America’s most prestigious programs for educating singers, The Juilliard School’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts offers young artists programs tailored to their talents and needs. From bachelor and master of music degrees to an advanced Artist Diploma program in Opera Studies, Juilliard provides frequent performance opportunities, featuring singers in its own recital halls, on Lincoln Center’s stages, and around New York City. Juilliard Opera has presented numerous premieres of new operas as well as works from the standard repertoire.

Juilliard graduates may be heard in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world; diverse alumni artists include well-known performers such as Simon Estes, Renée Fleming, Leontyne Price, Risë Stevens, Tatiana Troyanos, and Shirley Verrett. Recent alumni include Paul Appleby, Sasha Cooke, Isabel Leonard, Erin Morley, and Susanna Phillips.

Pianist Brian Zeger has built a distinguished international performance career in addition to appearing as artistic administrator, educator, and radio broadcaster. In a career spanning more than two decades, Mr. Zeger has enjoyed collaborations with many of the world’s top artists and enjoys an active career as a chamber musician. Currently he is artistic director of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School and the executive director of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.


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